E.232 Bedknobs and Broomsticks Review



Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson, produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company in North America on December 13, 1971. It is based upon the books The Magic Bedknob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1947) by English children’s author Mary Norton. The film, which combines live-action and animation, stars Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson.

During the early 1960s, Bedknobs and Broomsticks entered development when the negotiations for the film rights to Mary Poppins (1964) were placed on hold. When the rights were acquired, the film was shelved repeatedly due to the similarities with Mary Poppins until it was revived in 1969. Originally at a length of 139 minutes, Bedknobs and Broomsticks was edited down to almost two hours prior to its premiere at the Radio City Music Hall. The film was released on December 13, 1971, to mixed reviews from critics, some of whom praised the live-action/animated sequence. The film received five Academy Awards nominations winning one for Best Special Visual Effects. This was the last film released prior to the death of Walt Disney‘s surviving brother, Roy O. Disney, who died one week later. It is also the last theatrical film Reginald Owen appeared in before his death in 1972; his last two acting credits were for television.

In 2001 the film was restored with most of the deleted material re-inserted back into the film. A stage musical adaptation is in production which is set to debut in 2020.

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